Hunting Articles by Tony Young, FWC

Outta' The Woods




Hunting articles by Tony Young, the media relations coordinator for the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Division of Hunting and Game Management. You can reach him with questions about hunting or see more hunting articles at
Tony.Young@MyFWC.com.



If you're looking for a "go-to" fellow for information regarding Florida wildlife hunting rules and regulations, then writer Tony Young is the person you want to see. Tony's vast knowledge of hunting in Florida as well as his hands-on experience will provide you with valuable information for your next hunting trip. Whether you are an eager beginner or a seasoned hunter with many wild game mounts on your wall, you can benefit from Tony's many articles. So sit back, take note, and enjoy these interesting reads!


Learn to stay safe in the woods – take a hunter safety class
June 2017

The National Safety Council reports a 17 percent decrease in accidents involving firearms from 2014 to 2015. This decline in unintentional firearms-related fatalities is the lowest since record keeping began in 1903. And this decrease came in a year that saw record-high firearms sales to millions of Americans. . . . . . 

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Apply for alligator and fall hunt permits in May!
May 2017

May is here, and so is the start of the Phase I application period for applying for alligator and fall quota, special opportunity and national wildlife refuge hunt permits. Mark your calendar, set yourself an alarm, whatever you have to do to remind yourself – just don’t forget to get in all of your fall hunting permit applications in time for Phase I . . . . . 

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Florida’s WMA system turns 75; nearly 6 million acres strong
April 2017

Back in 1941, Florida was a much different state with a population of less than 2 million people. However, growth and development soon threatened the landscape and habitat for the state’s native wildlife. Then the Florida Legislature allowed the state to accept federal funds to be used for conservation land acquisition. . . . .

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Hunt Spring Turkeys on 42 WMAs Without a Quota
March 2017

Florida is the only state with Osceola wild turkeys, and hunters can pursue that subspecies as well as eastern wild turkeys. . . . . 

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Zone D’s late muzzleloader season extends deer hunting opportunity through February -- Plus, don't miss Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days
February 2017

“What I love most about using a muzzleloader is the extra challenge it provides – you only get one shot and you better make it count,” said Howard Tiller, retired high school teacher and Chipley, Florida, native. . .

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Make a Kid’s First Hunting Trip Great
January 2017

All hunters have a story about how we were first introduced to hunting and why we have such a love of nature. For me, it was something I sought to try on my own when . . . 

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Everything You Need to Know about Duck and Dove Hunting Regulations
December, 2016

Hunting during the holidays is such a longstanding tradition in our country, which allows hunters to participate in the management and conservation of wildlife while putting healthy, free-range protein on our family’s dinner table.  In this column, I go over a couple of hunting seasons that begin in December – the second phase of waterfowl and coot; and the third phase of mourning and white-winged dove.

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Easy Guide to Florida’s Fall Hunting Seasons
November, 2016

With one of the longest deer seasons in the nation and nearly 6 million acres of public hunting lands, Florida offers hunters many opportunities to get out and enjoy November's cooler weather.

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What Every Hunter Ought to Know About Florida’s Early Fall Hunting
October, 2016

Football season is in full swing, and the 2016-17 hunting season’s crankin’ up! In Zone A, they’re already into general gun season, but for the rest of us, I’d like to cover the rules and regulations regarding three hunting seasons that are just around the corner: muzzleloading gun, gray squirrel and the first phase of dove.

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Why Not Try Bowhunting?
September, 2016

Bow hunting continues to grow in popularity with one-third of hunters reporting they hunt with a bow.  

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Help monitor for CWD; Floridians hunting out of state need to be aware of what they can bring back.
August, 2016

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is looking to hunters to help monitor the state’s deer herd this coming season for chronic wasting disease, or CWD as it’s more commonly called. And any Florida hunter planning to hunt deer, moose or elk out of state this year needs to be aware of certain laws and regulations aimed at preventing CWD from entering our state.

What is CWD?

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Deer Huntin’ Goes Through March 1 in Zone D!
February, 2015

As I type this, I just arrived back in the Sunshine State after taking a great cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel with my family, my parents and my sister’s family. While the temperatures were certainly warm in the Caribbean, the cooler air here at home immediately reminded me that hunting season is still going strong.

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Make Your New Year's Resolution to Take a Kid Hunting
January, 2015

The year was 1997, and I was working part-time as a baseball coach at my alma mater, Lincoln High School in Tallahassee. I had the privilege back then of working with so many talented and all-around great kids and was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to get to know some of these outstanding young men and their parents. Some of these relationships developed into lasting friendships.

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December Filled with Holiday Hunting Traditions
December, 2014

The second phase of waterfowl and coot season comes in statewide Dec. 6 and runs through January 25. In addition to the usual hunting license and permit requirements, duck hunters also must have a Florida waterfowl permit ($5) and a federal duck stamp ($17.50).

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Give Thanks for Hunting Opportunities Galore
November, 2014

November means the 2014-15 huntin’ season is in full swing. In this month’s column, I cover almost everything you need to know about general gun, fall turkey, quail, snipe and the second phase of mourning and white-winged dove season.

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Cooler Weather Brings More Hunting Opportunities
October, 2014

Football season is in full swing, and the 2014-15 hunting season is cranking up. Heck, in Zone A, they’re already into general gun season. But for the rest of us, I’d like to cover some things you should know regarding three hunting seasons that are just around the corner: muzzleloading gun, gray squirrel and the first phase of dove.

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Huntin' Season is Here!
September, 2014

I don’t know about y’all, but I got a bad case a BUCK FEVER!  Hunting season always comes in first in Zone A in south Florida. Archery and crossbow seasons there started Aug. 2. But the boundary line between zones A and C has changed this year.  This year, archery and crossbow seasons in Zone B start Oct. 18.  If you hunt in Zone C, archery and crossbow seasons open Sept. 13. In Zone D, archery and crossbow seasons begin on Oct. 25 this year.

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Expect Changes for Hunting Zones A and D
August, 2014

This Fall z
one D, there are several major changes this year to fall hunting regulations that you need to know about. And, if your hunting spot was in the northern portion of Zone A, you might be hunting in Zone C now. If you hunt in southern Manatee County, Sarasota County, southwest DeSoto County, west Charlotte County, southeast Okeechobee County, south St. Lucie County, Martin County or north Palm Beach County, you now have later fall hunting season dates than what you’re used to, because the boundary line between the two zones has been adjusted.

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Apply for fall quota permits in June!
July, 2014

To me, the best part about hunting is not harvesting game – but spending quality time outdoors with friends and family. One of the best ways to do that is through dove hunting, which is part of the reason why great dove hunts are in such high demand but often difficult to find. 

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Apply for fall quota permits in June!
June, 2014

If you hunt public land, you should know that many of Florida’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) require a quota permit to hunt during archery, muzzleloading gun and all or part of the general gun season.

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My First Osceola Turkey; now it's time to apply for gator permits
May, 2014

I hope everyone enjoyed a great turkey season, and I am happy to report that I tagged-out in Florida, finishing my season in local woods, harvesting a nice Eastern with a 9-inch beard and 1 1/8-inch spurs. But the most exciting part is that I took my first Osceola on a great hunting trip with my wife to Martin County, thereby getting my Florida Slam (shooting both subspecies of wild turkeys that reside in the state). And what a true trophy bird and wonderful vacation it was.

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The hunt is on!
October, 2013

Football season is in full swing, and the 2013-14 hunting season is cranking up. Heck, in Zone A, they’re already into general gun season. But for the rest of us, I’d like to cover some things you should know regarding three hunting seasons that are just around the corner: muzzleloading gun, gray squirrel and the first phase of dove.

More . . .

Pull back on a string; huntin’ season is here!
September, 2013

Even though you can hardly tell, summer is almost over. Kids have returned to school, football is back on TV, and hunting season has been going on for a month now in south Florida. Most of us have already finished our preseason scouting, and we’ve hung our tree stands along well-traveled deer trails – next to a mature oak tree that’ll soon begin dropping acorns, if we’re lucky. Finally, the time of year we’ve been waiting for is here!

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Take hunter safety training to get ready for opening day!
August, 2013

With the dog days of summer fully upon us, it’s sometimes hard to even think about hunting. But if you’re age 16 to 38 and haven’t completed the state’s hunter safety course requirement, now’s a good time to be thinking about signing up. Don’t put it off; August is the best time to take a class in your area.

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Join the FWC’s Dove Club Program
July, 2013

To me, the best part about hunting is not harvesting game – but spending quality time outdoors with friends and family. One of the best ways to do that is through dove hunting, which is part of the reason why great dove hunts are in such high demand but often difficult to find.

More . . .

Apply for quota permits in June!
June, 2013

Every hunter knows you have a better chance of catching a monster buck off-guard during the first part of hunting season. That’s why many of us enjoy hunting the archery and muzzleloading gun seasons – and why we can’t miss opening weekend of the general gun season.  If you hunt public land, you should know that many of Florida’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) require a quota permit to hunt during archery, muzzleloading gun and all or part of the general gun season.

More . . .

Apply for a hunt of a lifetime!
May, 2013

If you haven’t been seeing the quantity or quality of game you’d like, you may want to consider applying for a special-opportunity hunt. For the past 16 years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has offered these unique fall-season hunts for deer, wild hog and released quail on the best of the state’s public hunting lands. Maybe it’s time you look into getting in on the action and experience the hunt of a lifetime.

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My First Spring Turkey Hunt
April, 2013

My interest in hunting the quirky-moving, nervous-acting, but beautifully colored wild turkey was piqued about 12 years ago by an old high school friend and band mate, Todd Bevis. Todd’s a turkey-hunting fanatic if I’ve ever seen one, and the excitement in his voice that’s apparent every time he tells a hunting story played a big part in my getting the fever to experience spring turkey hunting myself.

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Waitin' on Tom!
March, 2013

Because my turkey-huntin’ song, “Waitin’ on Tom,” featuring this year’s head-to-head Grand National turkey-calling champion and good friend Scott Ellis, is the theme song to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s “Turkey Call” TV show, I was invited to attend and perform at the federation’s annual convention in Nashville, Tenn., and offered some great opportunities.

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Deer season still goin’ strong in Zone D
February, 2013

There’s still lots of deer-hunting days west of where we live in Tallahassee. So if you’re like me and not ready for deer season to be over and don’t mind hunting with a primitive weapon, then point your pickup truck toward Zone D, because deer season is still goin’ strong on private lands and on a lot of the wildlife management areas (WMAs).

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Follow 'rule of halves' in managing for turkeys
January, 2013

Whether you oversee a large tract of land or own a smaller parcel, there are many wildlife management techniques you can use to help attract and keep wild turkeys on your property.

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December's holiday hunting traditions
December, 2012

There’s finally a chill and certain festiveness in the air as most of us try to take time off from work to enjoy spending quality time with family and friends and reflect on the passing year. Children will be out of school on winter break soon, and while the holiday season is upon us, so are several traditional hunting opportunities.

More . . .

Give thanks for November hunting opportunities
November, 2012

November means the 2012-13 huntin’ season is in full swing. In this month’s column, I cover almost everything you need to know about general gun, fall turkey, quail, snipe and the second phase of mourning and white-winged dove season.

More . . .

Gray Squirrel Season Opens 1 Month Early on Private Lands
October, 2012

Football season is in full swing, and the 2012-13 hunting season is cranking up. Heck, in Zone A, they’re already into general gun season. But for the rest of us, I’d like to cover some things you should know regarding three hunting seasons that are just around the corner: muzzleloading gun, gray squirrel and the first phase of dove.

More . . .

Pull back on a string; huntin’ season is here!
September, 2012

Even though you can hardly tell, summer is almost over. Kids have returned to school, football is back on TV, and hunting season’s already been going on for a month now in South Florida. Most of us have already finished our preseason scouting, and we’ve hung our tree stands along well-traveled deer trails – next to a mature oak tree that’ll soon begin dropping acorns, we hope. Finally, the time of year we’ve been waiting for is here!

More . . .

Take Hunter Safety and Get Ready For Opening Day!
August, 2012

With the dog days of summer upon us, it’s hard to think about hunting. However, if you’re between the ages of 16 and 37, and haven’t yet taken the state’s hunter safety class, now is the perfect time to be thinking about it. Many of these classes, offered statewide, fill up fast during hunting season while people scramble to get certified. Summer months offer smaller class sizes and offer a better opportunity for students to attend, because they often have more free time then.

More . . .

Join the Dove Club
July, 2012

To me, the best part about hunting is not harvesting game – but spending quality time outdoors with friends and family. One of the best ways to do that is through dove hunting, which is one reason why great dove hunts are in such high demand but often difficult to find.

More . . .

Application dates shift for some quota hunts
June, 2012


If you hunt public land, you should know that many of Florida’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) require a quota permit to hunt during archery, muzzleloading gun and all or part of the general gun season. Take note that this year, there have been some major changes to some of the application periods, because the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is switching over to a new license/permit vendor.

More . . .

Apply for special-opportunity fall hunts
May, 2012

If you haven’t been seeing the quantity or quality of game you’d like, you may want to consider applying for a special-opportunity hunt. For the past 15 years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has offered these unique fall-season hunts for deer, wild hog and released quail on the state’s arguably best public hunting lands. Maybe it’s time you look into getting in on the action and experience the hunt of a lifetime.

More . .

Managing for longbeards
April, 2012

Whether you oversee a large tract of land or own a smaller parcel, there are many wildlife management techniques you can use to help attract wild turkeys to your property.

More . . .

Talkin' turkey
March, 2012


Better start brushing up on your turkey calling, because spring gobbler season is here. Whether you prefer to use a mouth call, box call, slate or any combination, March means it’s time to start talkin’ turkey.

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Deer hunting still goin’ strong in Zone D
February, 2012


It seems the deer in my neck of the woods have been a lot more nocturnal than usual, and my hunting season has been pitiful thus far. As I type this, I have harvested only one deer. Now I did shoot a nice fall gobbler sporting an 11-inch beard on my 2/3-acre Sopchoppy River lot, but that hardly counted, since I was really tryin’ to get a doe during Zone D’s antlerless deer season.

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Wild hogs – nuisance or hunting opportunity?
January, 2012


The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal pursued each winter by Florida's more than 200,000 hunters. But, there's another big-game species that's hunted quite a bit too and is especially popular with hunters in the southern and central parts of the state: the wild hog.

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December’s traditions include holiday hunting
December, 2011


There’s finally a chill and certain festiveness in the air as most of us try to take time off from work to enjoy spending quality time with family and friends and reflect on the passing year. Children will be out of school on winter break soon, and while the holiday season is upon us, so are several traditional hunting opportunities.

More . . .

Give thanks for hunting opportunities
November, 2011

November means the 2011-12 huntin’ season’s in full swing. In this month’s column, I cover most everything you need to know about general gun, fall turkey, quail and gray squirrel, snipe and the second phase of mourning and white-winged dove seasons.

More . . .

Huntin’ season is crankin’ up!
October, 2011


Football season is in full swing, and the 2011-12 hunting season is cranking up. Heck, in Zone A, they’re already into general gun season. But for the rest of us, I’d like to cover the rules and regulations regarding two hunting seasons that are just around the corner: muzzleloading gun and the first phase of dove.

More . . .

Crossbow Season Expanded on Private Lands
September, 2011


Bowhunting continues to be popular in our state. Beginning this year, even more folks are bound to take to the woods earlier, because on private lands, crossbow season has been extended; it now opens the same day as archery in each of the four hunting zones.

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Take Hunter Safety Class and Get Ready for Opening Day!
August, 2011


With the dog days of summer upon us, it’s hard to think about hunting. But if you’re between the ages of 16 and 36, and haven’t yet taken the state’s hunter safety class – now’s just the time to be thinking about it. Many of these classes, offered statewide, fill up fast during hunting season while people scramble to get certified. Summer months offer smaller class sizes and offer a better opportunity for students to attend, because they often have more free time then.

More . . .

Join the Dove Club
July, 2011


To me, the best part about hunting is not harvesting game – but spending quality time outdoors with friends and family. One of the best ways to do that is through dove hunting, which is one reason why great dove hunts are in such high demand but often difficult to find.

More . . .

Apply for quota permits June 1-30, 2011
June, 2011

Every hunter knows you have the best chance of catching a monster buck off-guard during the first part of hunting season. That's why many of us enjoy hunting the archery and muzzleloading gun seasons - and why we can't miss opening weekend of the general gun season.

More . . .

Deer hunting still goin' strong in Zone D
February, 2011

Hunting season has been pretty good so far. I shot a 170-pound 7 point and a doe during Zone C's doe week. Then, I shot another doe on the first day of Zone D's antlerless deer season. What made that hunt special was that I took it off some property I have on the Sopchoppy River that's less than an acre in size! And, it was the very first time I ever even hunted it since I bought the 70-foot-wide lot in 2005, making it the first deer I ever harvested on land I own.

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December's traditions
December, 2010

There’s finally a chill and a certain festiveness in the air as most of us try to take time off from work to enjoy spending quality time with family and friends and reflect on the passing year. Children will be out of school on winter break soon, and while the holiday season is upon us, so are several traditional hunting opportunities.

More . . .

Give thanks for hunting seasons galore
November, 2010

November means the 2010-11 huntin’ season’s in full swing. In this month’s column, I cover most everything you need to know about general gun, fall turkey, quail and gray squirrel, snipe and the second phase of mourning and white-winged dove season.

More . . .

Huntin’ season is crankin’ up!
October 2010

Football season is in full swing, and the 2010-11 hunting season is starting to crank up. Heck, in Zone A, they’re already into general gun season! But for the rest of us, I’d like to cover the rules and regulations regarding three hunting seasons that are just around the corner – crossbow, muzzleloading gun and the first phase of dove.

More . . .

Archery Season - Get Your Hunt On!
September 2010

Even though you can hardly tell, summer is officially over. Kids have returned to school, and hunting season’s already been going on for a month now in South Florida. Finally, the time of year we’ve been waiting for is upon us – the beginning of archery season.

More . . .

Register for hunter safety and get ready for opening day!
August 2010

With dog-days of summer fully upon us, it's hard to think about hunting. But if you're between the ages of 16 and 35, and haven't completed the state's hunter safety course requirement, now's the time to be thinking about it. If you've been putting off taking a hunter safety class, August is the best time to sign up for one in your area.

More . . .

Join the Dove Club
July 2010

To me, the best part about hunting is not harvesting game but spending quality time in the outdoors with friends and family. One of the best ways to do just that is through dove hunting.

More . . .

Quota Permit Hunts - Apply June 1-30, 2010
June 2010

Every hunter knows you have the best chance of catching a monster buck off-guard during the first part of hunting season. That’s why many of us enjoy hunting the archery and muzzleloading gun seasons – and why we can’t miss opening weekend of the general gun season.

More . . .

Up your odds with a special-opportunity hunt
May 2010

If you haven't been seeing the quantity or quality of game you'd like, you may want to consider applying for a special-opportunity hunt. For the past 13 years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has offered these unique fall-season hunts for deer, wild hog and released quail on the state's best public hunting lands. Maybe it's time you look into getting in on the action and experience the hunt of a lifetime.

More . . .

Ducks – more than they’re quacked up to be
March 29, 2010

Well, I hope all you turkey hunters in the South Hunting Zone took a nice bird or two this year, as your season is coming to a close. For those of us in the rest of the state, we still have until April 25 to bag us a good long-beard. But after spring gobbler season, there’s really not much hunting to talk about, so I’d like to tell you about another bird – one that needs our help.

More . . .

Talkin' Turkey
March, 2010

If you haven't already started, it's time to brush up on your turkey calling, 'cause spring gobbler season's here. Whether you prefer to use a mouth call, box call, slate or any combination, March means it's time to start talkin' turkey.

More . . .

Not so fast! Deer season's not over yet
February 2010

Thus far, this deer season has been pretty good to me as far as quantity goes. I shot two does during doe week, and I got my season limit on fall gobblers, but I have yet to even see horns, much less harvest a buck. But I still have plenty of room left in my freezer, and I'm not throwing in the towel just yet. After all, there are still lots of hunting days left in my neck of the woods, and my game camera's still taking pictures of some pretty good bucks.

More . . .

That Coon Dog'll Hunt
January 2010

Some of my huntin’ buddies and I really live for being out in a wet patch of woods in the middle of a cool night and hearing the not-so-distant sounds of our coon hounds when they open up on a hot trail. There’s just something about those hounds’ voices that sounds both pleasing and eerie at the same time.

More . . .

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